EXCLUSIVE: “Ultimately my role as MD is to sell,” says new Pandora UK boss

The new Pandora UK managing director, Kate Walsh, is a team player who is not afraid to get stuck in, receive honest feedback, and do what she needs to do to keep the brand profitable on the British high street.

Meeting with our editor Stacey Hailes just 35 days into the job, Walsh had already been busy planning for Christmas, strategising for 2019, meeting with all the brand’s franchise partners (and polling them to receive their honest feedback), whilst also getting to know her new team at head office, visiting some of the most profitable stores, and even selling on the shop floor during the busy Black Friday weekend.

This gives you a glimpse of the kind of boss Kate Walsh is and what people can expect for her as the new managing director of Pandora.

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Walsh has already enjoyed an impressive career in the company, which has taken her all around the world and then home again, where she is ready to take Pandora to the next level in the UK.

In her first interview in this new position, she tells Professional Jeweller: “I have a one team mentality – that was my approach to Germany and I think that was a fresh approach to them over there, because there are slight cultural differences and I would say Germany in terms of businesses tend to be more hierarchical, but what I love about Pandora is being Danish and the whole Danish culture is very flat. It is very equal. And that’s one of the things that captured my imagination about Pandora. I love that we’ve all got different job titles, but we are part of the same team.”

“Ultimately, my role as MD is to sell,” she continues. “I love being on the shop floor. That’s how I love to spend my time. It gives me a lot of energy to go out. It brings you back to what it is all about and who pays everybody’s salaries at the end of the day. And of course that starts with the customer. People work really hard on the shop floor and you never want to lose sight of that, or lose touch with it, and you’ve got to give them a voice. It’s been good to get out so more of that over the next 100 days.”

The new boss for the UK is taking over the reins at an interesting time. Just days into her role the brand announced the launch of Programme NOW, which will be driven by a chief operating officer who has recently joined the company, to help improve the business and move it into its next phase of maturity.

Walsh welcomes the new programme, which stands for ‘Next level of efficiency; One team; and Winning customer’s hearts’, and believes it’s an exciting time to lead the UK division.

“We have launched Programme NOW, so it is an exciting time,” Walsh says. “Jeremy Schwartz has come in as our new COO. He’s bought a lot of new energy, a real focus towards the consumer. So there has been a lot of workshop activity going on for new ideas for how we can provide a better retail experience in our stores – looking forward to how we could work towards omnichannel.”

Read the full first interview with Pandora UK’s managing director, Kate Walsh, in the January issue of Professional Jeweller.

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